Lessons from the Greatest Innovators

by Jun 26, 2017

The world would be an utterly dull and uninteresting place without a constant exchange of new ideas. As humans, we constantly evolve and adapt to an ever-changing landscape; innovation never stops, but getting to the end goal of an innovative idea or project can really test one’s limits. Although we overall inhabit a world which craves change, we tend to be a bit resistant at first– remember when computers were first introduced? Nobody thought they would last. Now we can barely make it throughout the day without laying eyes on one (phone, car, cash register at the store, etc…)

In his article “4 Lessons From History’s Great Innovators That You Should Never Forget,” Adam Naor explains how we can learn and implement lessons from past innovators. Here are our favorite two points:

  • Nothing Works the First Time. It’s easy to become discouraged when something doesn’t work the way you want it to the first time around. That’s why it’s so important to remember this first point– nothing becomes a success overnight, especially when it’s a first attempt. Be patient, give it time, and always ask yourself how you can make something better the second time around, or the third time. Real innovation occurs on the path to success.
  • The Whole can be Greater than the Sum of its Parts. Naor says it best, “Many innovators flourish in partnerships. Take the partnership of Wozniak and Jobs at Apple. Or the partnership of Ida and William Rosenthal at Maidenform. Then there’s Marc Andreessen and Jim Clark at Netscape. The Wright brothers, and Sergey Brin and Larry Page at Google, the list goes on.” The best innovations are often collaborative– don’t be afraid to reach out to others.

So what’s the real message? Channel your best Tom Haverford (Parks & Recreation)! Tom’s character in the show has an unmatched entrepreneurial spirit– remember his cologne “Tommy Fresh”? Or Entertainment 720? And who could forget the clothing rental store for kids, Rent-a-Swag? All these enterprises were a struggle to get off the ground, all failed in one way or another, but Tom did not give up. Finally, Tom’s entrepreneurial spirit found a place to set up camp with the creation of Tom’s Bistro, which, many people seem to forget, almost failed during its opening night. It was only with the help and support of all his friends (i.e. collaboration) that Tom’s latest project became a booming success.

Photo: “Innovation” by thinkpublic, available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License.


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